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Wednesday, 6 May 1936


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - I have tried to bear with the honorable senator in the hope that we shall make some progress in the consideration of these tariff items. I ask him now to define his proposal and enable the committee to proceed with the business.


Senator Collings - The honorable senator is getting officers of the chamber to help him make up his mind.

Senator E.B. JOHNSTON (Western Australia ([9.20].- I move-

That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duties sub-item (d), general 15 per cent.

Evidence was given before the Tariff Board, on behalf of Australian mining interests, by G. L. Chilvers, representing the Broken Hill mining companies, and their associated treatment companies, and, through the Chamber of Mines of Western Australia, the mining companies associated with that body. The following is the board's summary of Mr. Chilvers evidence : -

(1)   Owing partly to the assistance of exchange and partly to the development of the local engineering industry, the Australian manufacturer of mining machinery could compete in many instances, even if the imported plant were admitted free of duty.

That opinion should be endorsed by the Queensland Labour senators, and especially the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) who, strange to relate, now appears to object to any reduction of the duties in this sub-item.

(2)   Metallurgical practice and machines are being constantly improved, and if the local mining interests are to keep abreast of developments, they must have the freest possible choice of design, and must be able to purchase their plant and equipment at prices as nearly as possible competitive with those paid overseas.

(3)   By-law admission is requested of several appliances of typos not manufactured in Australia.

The following is the summary of evidence given by Mr. G. S. Murray, representing Prank Manford Limited, and the Chamber of Mines of Western Australia .Incorporated. : -

(1)   There, arc many machines and appliances which should be classed under Tariff Items 1 70 b or 170 e, but on which, at present, duty is demanded at higher duties under other tariff items. A recasting of the item is desirable.

(2)   Many difficulties are experienced in obtaining admission at by-law rate of duty machines and plant of various types not made in. Australia. The mining industry is anxious to obtain a more definite understanding regarding these goods.

(3)   It ia considered that the Tariff- Board should function as a court of appeal for consideration of disputed tariff classifications.

(4)   A - suggested wording for tariff item 170 b is: - "Ore dressing machinery and appliances and accessories, including secondary crushers, fine grinders and machines, and appliances employed in metallurgical practice ".

Evidence was also given by Messrs. W. C. Harris and A. W. 'Harris, gentlemen well known to me, on behalf of the Tariff Committee of the Chamber of Mines, Kalgoorlie. Their submission was -

Admission is sought at by-law rates of duty of several types of machines and' plant required in the mining industry.

I now direct attention to -some of the Tariff Board's comments: -

As a producer of wealth and an employer of labour, mining holds one of the foremost places in Australian industry. At 'the present time the local mining interests are principally concerned with the production of gold, coal, iron, lead, copper, silver, tin and zinc.

Base metal mining in Australia is firmly established, and its requirement of machinery is largely confined to replacements of existing plant. On the other hand, chiefly owing to the attractive price of gold, which has now been maintained around or above £7 sterling per fine ounce since early in February, 1934, the gold-mining industry, which had reached a low ebb in 1029, has come rapidly to the foreground once more, and many old mines have been re-opened and new mines commenced.

It is gratifying to find that many mines in the Coolgardie, Kalgoorlie, Menzies and Leonora districts, which had been abandoned, are now being exploited with Australian capital. The board's report continued -

Other ventures are still in the prospecting stage. The output of gold for the Commonwealth showed an increase from 427,-159 line ounces in- 1929 to 882,307 ounces in 1934. This new activity has led to a marked increase in the demand for equipment for gold-mining, and that section of the local mining industry is the one most vitally concerned in the board's inquiry.

That represents an increase of more than 100 per cent., and Western Australia, which has contributed more than onehalf of the increased production, is proud of such an achievement. The Leader of the Opposition also should be pleased to realize that this increased production has been brought about by the honest labour and energy of the men employed in the gold mines of Australia, and particularly of Western Australia. The miningindustry in that State is enteringupon a new era of prosperity, as gold mines considered to be worked out twenty years ago are being re-opened and developed with Australian capital and Australian labour.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - The honorable senator's time has expired.

Motion (by Senator Collings) put -

That the question be now put.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - There being more than the required number of thirteen senators present, and voting in the affirmative, and only one honorable senator voting in the negative, I declare the motion carried.


Senator E B Johnston - I rise to order. As I have occupied only onequarter of an hour, and no other honorable senator is prepared to continue the discussion, am I not entitled to take my second period now?

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The committee has decided that a vote shall now be taken on the request moved by the honorable senator.

Request negatived.

Item agreed to.

Item 171- 171. By omitting the whole of sub-item (a) and inserting in its stead the following sub' item : - " (a) Hay rakes, horse, ad valorem - British, 10 per cent.; intermediate, 45 per cent.; general, 45 per cent.; or each - intermediate, £3; general, £3, whichever rate returns the higher duty.

By omitting the whole of sub-item (b) and inserting in its stead the following sub-item: - " (B) Reapers and binders, ad valorem - British, 10 per cent.; intermediate, 45 per cent.; general, 45 per cent.; or each - intermediate, £10: general, £10, . whichever Tate returns the higher duty.

By omitting the whole of sub-item (c) and inserting in its stead the following sub-item: - "(C) Mowers, ad valorem - British, 10 per cent.; intermediate, 45 per cent.; general, 45 per cent. ; or each - intermediate, £4 ; general, £4, whichever rate returns the higher duty.

By omitting the whole of sub-item (n) and inserting in its stead the following sub-item: - "(d) Metal parts, n.e.i., of reapers and binders, hay rakes (-horse) and mowers, ad valorem - British, 10 per cent.; intermediate, 4.8 per cent.; general, 45 par cent.; or per lb. - intermediate, 2d.; general, 2d., whichever rate returns the higher duty.







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